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Interview Hindi

Rohit Shetty's chaos is always well planned – Birthday special

Anil Charanjeett, who played the character Naidu in Golmaal Again and was also one of the filmmaker's assistants, speaks about the experience.

Rohit Shetty and Anil Charanjeett

Keyur Seta

Rohit Shetty. Over the past dozen years, the name has become synonymous with entertainment in Hindi cinema. Along with the hit Golmaal series, Shetty is the man behind the iconic Singham (2011).

Shetty's films do not find much favour with the critics. But that does not stop him from usually laughing and cartwheeling his way to the bank. His biggest success story so far has been the Golmaal franchise, the first in Hindi cinema to reach four films and counting.

On his 45th birthday today (Shetty was born on 14 March 1973), Anil Charanjeett, an assistant director and actor from his latest hit Golmaal Again (2017), relives the experience of working with Shetty.

The end credits of a Rohit Shetty film usually begin with ‘A film by Rohit Shetty and team’, and that is no affectation. Charanjeett says Shetty genuinely believes in his team. “He loves his AD [assistant director] team and his team is incredible," he said. "And his team loves him back."

Shetty has a different aura on the sets and is a very punctual man, Charanjeett said. And he makes sure the entire team is in synch. "He makes every film with a lot of dedication," he said. "His connection with the audience is clear from his box-office numbers.”

Besides assisting Shetty on Golmaal Again, Charanjeett essayed the role of Naidu in the film. In fact, he has earlier done big and small roles in films like Hasee Toh Phasee (2014), PK (2014), Tevar (2015), Singh Is Bliing (2015), and Raees (2017). But in Golmaal Again he became an assistant director for the first time, besides performing the small but important part of Naidu. And he counts working with Shetty among his memorable experiences.

“It was amazing," Charanjeett said. "He is a good human being. After the shoot, everybody works out and plays together. There is a lot of fun and jokes going on along with work. So, the working environment is very good. This has been one of the best experiences for me.”

While Shetty's films usually have a helter-skelter plot, pace and action, the chaos is very well planned, Charanjeett said. “Each and every scene is planned in detail," he said. "While watching the film you might think there was a lot of improvisation. And we do improvise, but majorly it is planned. A lot of time goes in thinking if a particular scene will work and whether it will make the audience laugh."

Charanjeett explained that a Rohit Shetty film usually involves a big star cast, but the director manages them very well, and that comes down to his own discipline and the detailed planning.

Though any filmmaker has to deal with a lot of egos on set, Charanjeett said Shetty is quite honest and blunt. “If Rohit sir likes something, he says so to that person’s face. And if he doesn’t like something, he straightaway says it is not working. He is very sorted in that sense."

Charanjeett said Shetty appreciated and motivated him every single day. "If somebody falls sick or has some problem, he is the first to help that person monetarily and emotionally,” he said.

Kunal Kemmu, Shreyas Talpade, Tabu, Ajay Devgn, Parineeti Chopra, Arshad Warsi and Tusshar Kapoor in Golmaal Again

As AD, Charanjeett also got the chance to enact every character’s scene during rehearsals. “We used to rehearse the scene the previous night and show the actors the next day," he said. "This is just for the blocking. We also used to give creative inputs and if sir liked them he would incorporate them. I have rehearsed scenes for every character and sir appreciated it. This will stay with me.”

Golmaal Again saw the characters having a ball on screen. The audience will not know the challenges the team faced during the shooting. “The Golmaal series is fun to watch but only after working on it does one realize the amount of hard work that goes in. Our endurance levels were tested. We shot in Hyderabad in around 45-50°C and then in Goa’s heat. Then we shot in the cold air-conditioned studios in Mumbai. This was also a learning experience for me,” Charanjeett said.

Shetty is among the few directors who insist on his screenwriters being present on the sets to make sure the actors are performing as per the script. So, “Sajidbhai and Farhadbhai [writer duo Sajid-Farhad] used to be on the sets of Golmaal Again," the young actor said. "Their contribution has been a lot. They also used to have a lot of fun.”

A favourite trope in Shetty's films is car stunts. Almost every film of his has cars flying around and getting upended. However, that wasn’t seen in Golmaal Again. Asked about it, Charanjeett said, “There was no such demand from the script. From the beginning there was no situation where we would need to use cars. This was the only reason. It wasn’t done purposely.”

Interestingly, Anil Charanjeett had had a chance to be a part of Golmaal (2006) as an extra. He could not take up the assignment then. But he eventually got a bigger opportunity with Golmaal Again. In that sense, life has come gol for him.

“I had a chance to stand at the back in a scene for which they were to pay Rs250-300," he recalled. "And there was the chance that the director would spot you and give you a better role. But I couldn’t go. I told Rohit sir this while shooting this time. I said I finally got a chance to work with you. He was happy and credited my hard work for getting me here."